ישיבת מאיר הראל מודיעין - גרעין קהילתי וקריית חינוך ע"ש מאיר והראל ע"ר 580444826

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גרעין קהילתי וקריית חינוך ע"ש מאיר והראל הינה עמותה שמפעילה תוכניות ופרויקטים בתחומי ישיבה, קהילה, זהות יהודית חברה, צבא ורפואה

The Matzah - preventing missing out.

Act now to preserve and strengthen unity

Parshah and its realization - Parshat Bo - and the war of the 'Iron Swords' 5784

Rabbi Eliezer Haim Shenvald

Dedicated to the memory of Lt. Col. Roi Yochai Yosef Mordechai IY'D

Dedicated to the IDF soldiers' success, to safeguard them lest any harm come to them, to the healing of all the wounded and the return of the abducted.

This past week marked one hundred days of the outbreak of the 'Iron Swords' war. Days that stood as a sign of heroism and wonderful unity after months of controversy and discourse, of hatred and polarization between different parts of the Israeli society. President Mr. Yitzhak Herzog published this week, in reference to those who want to put us back in the 'discourse of hate' that existed before the war: "Unfortunately, it is difficult not to see that there are those who choose to return to the discourse of hate that prevailed here until October 6th. Any withdrawal to those areas of polarization threaten us directly - our security, our lives. There is always room for criticism, sometimes there is a need to argue - it is part of our DNA, but it is time to conduct these debates and discussions responsibly, to maintain our togetherness, to remember that we are one people and one country. We must not let Hamas win the battle over Israeli unity. This is true for all of us, and certainly for the elected officials and its leadership. Leadership in times of war means responsibility for Israeli unity, which is the basis for victory. When our brothers and sisters risk their lives in the battle front, we must rise above the petty politics and the divisive and toxic discourse - both regarding the day before and the day after - and listen to the cry of our children who demand: "Instead of blessing us to return home in peace, let us return home to peace - peace within us."

The President's call is not enough. A wind of unity is blowing; of the soldiers - on the battlefield, and on their return home, and of those on the home front, who feel they share a destiny without difference between religious and secular, between right and left, between liberals and conservatives. The great fear is that the campaign the president is talking about, will begin to erode unity. A historic 'window of opportunity' has been opened, a propitious time has been created, in which we must act as much as we can to create frameworks for dialogue and preserve unity. And if it is even possible, to strengthen and reinforce it. We must not delay lest we miss the hour! We need to extinguish the fire of the dispute before it spreads, and stop the rolling snowball on time, without saying 'tomorrow' lest it be too late! And without letting the 'window of opportunity' close, G-d forbid (compare to article 'Kol Dodi Dofek' by Rabbi Soloveitchik).

In our Parasha we read about the Mitzvot of Passover and the Exodus from Egypt, which focused on agility and haste:

וְכָכָה תֹּאכְלוּ אֹתוֹ מָתְנֵיכֶם חֲגֻרִים נַעֲלֵיכֶם בְּרַגְלֵיכֶם וּמַקֶּלְכֶם בְּיֶדְכֶם וַאֲכַלְתֶּם אֹתוֹ בְּחִפָּזוֹן...

"This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly… (Shmot 12:11)

וְאָכְל֥וּ אֶת־הַבָּשָׂ֖ר בַּלַּ֣יְלָה הַזֶּ֑ה צְלִי־אֵ֣שׁ...

"They shall eat the flesh that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire… (ibid 8)

כל עניני אכילה דרך חפזון ומהירות הוא כאדם הנחפז ללכת

"every reference to the eating of this meal reflects the haste with which it had to be consumed" (Rashbam Shmot 12:8)

Concerning the Matzah -unleavened bread, quickness and haste is also an issue, lest you miss it:

וַיֹּאפוּ אֶת הַבָּצֵק אֲשֶׁר הוֹצִיאוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם עֻגֹת מַצּוֹת כִּי לֹא חָמֵץ כִּי גֹרְשׁוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לְהִתְמַהְמֵהַּ...

"And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had taken out of Egypt, for it was not leavened, since they had been driven out of Egypt and could not delay…" (Shmot 12:39)

According to the Ramban, the Mitzvot of eating Matzah and the prohibition of Chametz during the entire holiday were commanded for generations already at the Exodus. Hence the Mitzvah is not only a reminder, but an expression of the essence of freedom and redemption. It must be done in haste, procrastination results in the souring and missing out on the Mitzvah. From the Gra's*1 Beit Midrash, we also learned that in order to bring about the redemption, one must take action, on time, אִתְעָרוּתָא דִּלְתַתָּא an awakening from below to merit a stimulus from above דִלְעֵילָּא אִתְעָרוּתָא.

A procrastinated action that is carried out lazily can cause the hour to be missed.

Sages learned from the Mitzvah of Matzah, that a person should always be quick to do a Mitzvah so as not to miss the opportunity to keep it:

וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם֮ אֶת הַמַּצּוֹת֒

"You shall observe the [Feast of] Unleavened Bread" - etc.

אל תקרי כן אלא ושמרתם את המצוות. כדרך שאין מחמיצין את המצה כך לא יחמיצו את המצוות אלא אם באה מצוה לידך עשה אותה מיד

"Do not read it so, but rather, you shall observe the Mitzvot. Just as one does not miss the Matzah and let it get sour, so too will not miss the Mitzvot. If a Mitzvah comes to your hand, do not delay its performance (lit. allow it to become Chametz)', keep it immediately" (Mechilta ibid).

This is also the case with any good deed; it must not be postponed or delayed, it must be done immediately:

אֶלָּא בְּהַגִּיעַ זְמַנָּהּ אוֹ בְּהִזְדַּמְּנָה לְפָנָיו אוֹ בַּעֲלוֹתָהּ בְּמַחְשַׁבְתּוֹ, יְמַהֵר יָחִישׁ מַעֲשֵׂהוּ לֶאֱחֹז בָּהּ וְלַעֲשׂוֹת אוֹתָהּ וְלֹא יַנִּיחַ זְמַן לִזְמַן שֶׁיִּתְרַבֶּה בֵּינְתַיִם. כִּי אֵין סַכָּנָה כְּסַכָּנָתוֹ, אֲשֶׁר הִנֵּה כָּל רֶגַע שֶׁמִּתְחַדֵּשׁ, יוּכַל לְהִתְחַדֵּשׁ אֵיזֶה עִכּוּב לַמַּעֲשֶׂה הַטּוֹב... וְאָמְרוּ (פסחים ד): זְרִיזִים מַקְדִּימִים לַמִּצְווֹת.

"Rather when the time of its performance comes, or when it happens to present itself to him, or when the thought of performing it enters his mind, he should hurry and hasten to seize hold of it and perform it, and not allow time to go by in between. For there is no danger like its danger. Since, behold each new second that arises can bring with it a new impediment to the good deed... And they said (Psachim 4a): "zealous people do Mitzvot as early as possible".  (Mesilat Yesharim 7).

The same is true of the obligation to strengthen the unity within us. We must act now and not delay. Something important is better to do it immediately and not wait. Before is always better, lest we miss the hour! So we don't wake up too late.

We owe it to ourselves, and even more to our soldiers who sacrifice their lives for the defense of the country, and to the fallen who fell during war, and whose heart's desire was to make peace at home.


*1 – HaGra: Hebrew acronym for Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, also known as the Vilna Gaon.

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